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From: John Carmi Parsons <>
Subject: Re: Margaret de Clare
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 16:08:17 -0400 (EDT)


I'd expect some contemporary reference to twins. We know, for example, that
Joan "of Acre's" sister Elizabeth, countess of Hereford/Essex, had twin sons.
As the Clare estates were ultimately divided among Joan's daughters, we'd
almost certainly know if two of them were twins.

John P.

On Sat, 21 Aug 1999, Sutliff wrote:


>
>
> John Carmi Parsons wrote:
>
> > There seems to be some confusion over the dates of birth of the children
> > of Gilbert de Clare, earl of Hertford and Gloucester (1243-95) and Joan
> > "of Acre" (1272-1307), daughter of Edward I.
> >
> > Contemporary chronicle evidence and the testimony of Edward I's wardrobe
> > accounts confirm that Joan's first child by Gilbert, another Gilbert, was
> > born in May 1291. The dates of birth of her last three children, all
> > daughters, are not as specifically recorded and must be recovered from the
> > inquisitions post mortem taken following the death at Bannockburn in 1314
> > of their brother Gilbert, the last Clare earl of Hertford and Gloucester.
> >
> > Only two of the sisters' births can be determined in this way, however.
> > Elizabeth, the youngest, was born in November 1295, only weeks before her
> > father's death.
> >
> > But it appears to have been the eldest of the the three sisters, Eleanor,
> > who was born in October 1292 and not Margaret, the second of the three.
> > All contemporary record sources agree that Eleanor was the eldest, and as
> > the human reproductive cycle is fixed within certain limits there is, even
> > biologically speaking, barely enough time between May 1291, when young Gilbert
> > was born, and October 1292 when it is alleged Margaret was born, for yet
> > another child to have been born. If we factor in the prevailing custom of
> > a woman's confinement for a period of up to 60 days (two months) between the
> > birth of a child and her churching or purification, it becomes even less likely
> > that Joan "of Acre" could have borne Gilbert in May 1291, then Eleanor and
> > then Margaret in October 1292.
> >
> > Frances Underhill's biography of the youngest sister Elizabeth (to be published
> > in November by St Martin's Press in New York) date Eleanor's birth to October
> > 1292, Margaret's c. 1295 and Elizabeth's in November 1295.
> >
> > John Parsons
>
> Does the evidence preclude that Eleanor and Margaret might have been twins, with
> Margaret the younger? Or was it customary for the chronicles to identify twins?
>
> Thanks for addressing this.
>
> Henry Sutliff
>

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